16 December 2009

Amusing searches, Vol. 5

Here are more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently, this time with the very simple theme of Vaginas.

I think it would thus be appropriate to dedicate this, lucky number 5 in this series, to BHJ.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered.)

orangutan vagina - Finally, one of my horde of orangutan-based searchers (living in one of my favorite places to say: Puyallup, Washington) comes out of the closet, in the middle of the night, probably after a few beers. If they hoped, in this Google Image search, to find a clinical image of a primate's vagina, or something a bit more... wild, I can only try not to imagine.

what does an orangutans vagina look like - What do you think it looks like, Mr. Scarborough, Ontario? And why do you need to know? This is getting to be an epidemic! I've decided all people who live in or near the Canadian border are disgusting perverts. You may think this is rash, but I think the facts speak for themselves.

chimpanzee vagina (Mountain View, CA and Mogi-guaƧu, Brazil) - Look, I don't know who you've been talking to, but I obviously only deal in orangutans. What kind of low-grade vagina dealer do you take me for??

(And Mr. Brazil, you can be sure there isn't a stylist in the world who'd charge less than a month's salary to do a "Brazilian" for your new ladyfriend. Just imagine those wax strips! Shudder.)

someone else's urine touched my vagina, (Potomac, MD) - Is this you again?? Did you move from Regina (hey, that rhymes with your search!) to Maryland? Hmmmm... probably unlikely.

Ladies,* is it really so hard to just flush first? Especially if you're so paranoid that you'll run directly from the splash-producing toilet to the always-open arms of The Internet to find out how many days you have to live, via a search string taking the form of the opening line to a country song I never want to hear?

is it cleaner to lick a vagina or a toilet seat? (The United Kingdom) - I'm sure the ladies in the audience are deeply offended. The things those proper British gentlemen will ask The Google compared to what they discuss over high tea! But more practically, if the answer WAS a toilet seat, does that mean he'd be honor-bound to go around pleasing toilets all over town? Sorry, "loos" all over town?

ocd about getting pregnant by a toliet seat - Oh, great, thanks... now I have something new to fear.

what is origin of golden showers - I believe the answer is, technically, the urethra.

* I hope I'm not going too far out on a limb here with this gender assumption.

11 December 2009

Reports of my death are only mildly exaggerated

Editor's Note: Please humor me by imagining this post being grunted over my shoulder as I slaughter mice by the thousands, sword and shield in hand.

Editor's Note: And a gun... a really big, cool gun.

Now that I've gotten my Internet service up and running, I felt honor-bound to offer you all some kind of post as a reward for waiting patiently this whole week. By the computer, quietly whimpering all along, no doubt.

As a bonus for me, your standards are probably set really low by now, much like a food critic on the brink of starvation. I've always excelled at soaring over low standards as easily as I take the high-standard bar right in the teeth.

But speaking of teeth, as I listen to our new house settle and make all those noises houses do, I recline with bated breath, like the world's laziest hunter, waiting to see if we can all (theoretically) feast on roast mouseflesh tomorrow at breakfast. Otherwise, it's back to good old ladybugs and houseflies. By the handful.

The story of my short time in this (wonderful, amazing, joyous, I swear) house has been undeniably written in blood, though thankfully not much of it has been human.

If I were to make a size-relative hash mark for every life I've taken in the past six days, I could have re-created Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte twice, or, more likely, covered several walls with thousands of tiny scratches forming no discernible pattern. Either way, I'm pretty sure I'd be in trouble once my wife saw it.

But what my wife would like less would be the sight of me getting ready for breakfast by dabbing at blood stains on the old carpet someone saw fit to put in the kitchen while yelling at our 2-year-old that I meant it when I said to stay upstairs for just one more lousy minute.*

For you see, since my wife already had quite a long commute from our old apartment, and our "new" 120-year-old house is 2 hours farther away, she'll continue staying at my parents' house most of the time during the week, probably through the rest of the school year.

Our 5-year-old son D- is there with her as he continues at his old kindergarten until Christmas break, and thankfully after getting to play in his new bedroom for awhile on move-in day, he's eager for the school transition instead of dreading it.

And he's making the most of the opportunity to start over fresh, it seems, by not only torching every bridge a 5-year-old could possibly have built, but first desecrating them and then laughing while they burn.

So you can see why I've been even scarcer than recent months around here. I do appreciate the Amazon click-throughs some of you seem to have made after my previous post, and also the comments on my handful of recent status updates on Facebook. It's nice to not be totally abandoned even when I've abandoned everyone else for the time being!

I'll try to cobble together some list posts and other fragments that don't require as much consecutive minutes of focus, to get back in the swing of posting on here.

In the meantime, keep an eye on my Facebook status to make sure I haven't joined the fried mouse corpses in a fuse box somewhere in our dank old basement. ...Which I love, somewhere deep down. Deeper than the source of water that bubbles up through the floor now and then.

* In case you somehow missed her repeated announcements to the world at large, she will SAVE the mice. All the mice!**

** That was before I explained to her in greater detail this evening about the bathroom habits, or lack thereof, of housebound rodents. Now she "hates all the mice", and presumably thirsts for their life force.

28 November 2009

Did you hear the secret about some stores having pretty big sales?

I don't know how you all do it in other countries, but here in America, today is the day that begins this magical time of selfless giving in the most frantic, sleep-deprived, violent way possible.

That's right, sharpen your elbows, cause it's time for... what's that? The day after Thanksgiving passed and took with it all those unbelievable deals?? Damn.

Oh, yeah, that's right... THAT'S what my wife was doing while I was sleeping yesterday... Saving almost $2000 on appliances we needed to buy for our new house anyway. Thanks, desperate retailers of America!

And a special thanks to you, Sears, for narrowly winning your own battle against poor planning and organization to barely not totally mess everything up!

As for you, readers, even if you think you could never be lured down from your lofty position of righteous judgment --a seat I kept warm for many years-- into the fray that is Black Friday, I urge you to at least consider bypassing all that famous interminable-waiting and running and scratching and occasional-murdering while still getting almost all the other benefits-- shop online!

The best part is, when you're online, Black Friday isn't just Friday, so this post is still useful and timely!

Yes, awaken yourselves from those tryptophan-induced comas and remember the spirit of the season: buying more things than anyone would ever need for everyone you know (not forgetting that you are the first person you ever knew), and singlehandedly reviving a sagging economy somehow by demanding to pay retailers less than their cost for a choice selection of the most-wanted consumer goods.

In that very sacred vein, I point you in this direction, to my good friend and partner Amazon, which is offering unbelievably amazing prices for many, many different products this week:

I've only just begun my shopping there for this year, but as long as you don't buy the last thing of something I didn't know I wanted yet, I won't have to track you down and push-trip you while you're triumphantly carrying it from the mailbox a few days later.

Happy shopping!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I might come trip you anyway, just for old time's sake-- you just can't get that full experience online!

Also, as always, I do receive a commission for anything you purchase at Amazon as long as you get there from my site, but don't let that make you think I didn't get involved with them only because I know all sane people shop there at least sometimes, except for those who just haven't seen the light yet. Come into the light!

23 November 2009

Classic quotes, Vol. 20

Here's the latest batch of quotes from my wife J-, my 5-year-old son D-, my 2-year-old daughter M-, and me:

D- (talking about his "girlfriend" of the last month or so): Jessenia and I are going to get married. And then we're going to have a baby. (I ask him what they'll name it) Ummm, Joseph... Toys.

M- (on toilet, happily): Something's coming out... (mischievously) Guess what it is??

Me (getting a look from J- after I jokingly joined her in scolding herself for dropping pictures behind the scalding radiator): What?! I thought we were berating you as a couple for your clumsiness!

D- (casually telling my mom about his abovementioned girlfriend): Yeah, we're in love, so we're going to get married. (remembering) Oh, and I'm also going to marry Naya!

M- (rightfully infuriated with D-): No D-, those are mine! (he gleefully ignores her) Stop it! (lunging towards him with outstreched hands) I will choke you!

21 November 2009

Working undercover as a scatterbrain

If you've been wondering for the past few months why I haven't been stopping by your blog anymore, fearing it was a devastating social rejection by the coolest person you know,* worry not. It wasn't, and what's more, you're not alone.

Yes, the now-two-and-a-half-month process of trying to buy a house out in the country has been sucking up my time as hard as... the now-two-and-a-half-month process of trying to buy a house out in the country.

To clarify, when I say "a house", I don't mean, "any house", I mean one specific house, for which we officially signed a contract over two months ago.

My life has been a long, tortuous series of ups and downs, brokers and insurers, negotiations and extensions, approvals and denials, and disclosures and contingencies. Did I forget to mention forced humility?

Yes, I sympathize with my invisible sisters, the stay-at-home moms sitting on the sidelines while The Wage Earners sign paperwork to buy themselves cool stuff like cars and houses, which they'll share with us only at their pleasure. Or, at least, that's how the lenders would have us all see it.

Doesn't rescuing many thousands of dollars a year of my wife's salary count as my income, for all intents and purposes? Or how about my dozens of dollars a month in blog-related revenue? Maybe I'll just let my friend Mr. Washington negotiate with these people for me, to smooth my path back to legitimacy in the eyes of society.

Hey, let me tell you, I can always spare a couple of ad clicks (a.k.a. a week's salary) for such a noble, self-interested cause.

Anyway, I offer this page as proof of my blogging-slacking-off claims. For my (surely) dozen or so stalkers out there: you're welcome.

And for the rest of you, please accept my awkward apologies, aw-shucks expression, and pathetic groveling for forgiveness. If, in the recent past or in the coming days, I don't seem to acknowledge some major change in your life, it's just because I probably didn't read or hear about it yet, but rest assured I feel far more guilty for that than you or your devoutly Catholic grandmother could ever try to make me.

Just fill me in on what I might have missed!

* I mean me. You don't perceive it by any normal human senses or your logic-processing faculties, but I am in fact extremely cool. Kind of like discovering that light is a series of particles that move in waves, you have to totally adjust your perspective to see a brand-new, mind-bending reality. See how cool I am already?

18 November 2009

Book Review: Spongebob's Feelin' It!

When you see this, the cover of the infant-tactile-stimulation book SpongeBob's Feelin' It!, are you as unnerved as I am at this answer to the question, "What is SpongeBob doing when he's not filming his show?"

Book cover of How did this pass all of the various committees that surely had to approve its creation? Are they even paying attention anymore, when they're not busy cashing checks labeled "SpongeBob Toothbrushes", "SpongeBob Glucose Monitors", and "Actual Square Pants"?

I mean, just look at that satisfied smile on his bucktoothed face! Chilling.

Then again, haven't you always wanted to find out exactly what kind of pants those famous trousers are? Corduroy? Canvas? Chino? Well, SpongeBob really wants you to find out.

Not unlike my previous experience with the book I Went Walking, I'm too terrified to open this one up to find out what's inside.

But I know someone who's not: whoever belongs to those little eye stalks peeking over the arm of the chair...

You may enjoy my previous attempts at book reviews. I'll write one someday that might actually be useful for someone, somehow.

16 November 2009

Amusing searches, Vol. 4

Here are some of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently, this time collected under the very simple theme of Herpes.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I must warn you against using Google without at least some kind of keyboard cover-- it seems to be the ringleader in spreading herpes across the Internet.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered.)

can a dog give you herpes and can dogs give you herpes - Yes, these were two distinct searches.* All I'll say in answer is, if you find yourself driven to search the globe for this particular bit of information, I'm pretty sure the answer should not be your biggest concern in life. Even on the loneliest of Saturday nights, guys, you should probably just... fly solo on this mission.**

herpes and swine fluswine flu Herpesherpes swine flu [etc.] - Granted, I did pair these two afflictions in my post on swine flu, but since you're the ones earnestly seeking information, only I'm in the position to demand an explanation.

Are you worried swine flu's gonna turn your herpes sores into pork snouts, or something? Don't forget about your chicken pox. And acne. And anal warts that you just can't quite see or feel. I swear I'm sorry to add to your irrational fears. Really.

do pigs have herpes? - Isn't that kind of an overly generic question whose answer ("well, yes, they can... but like you, they don't necessarily") paints pigs in an unfair light? Those guys have it pretty bad as it is, what with all that Semitic and Islamic disdain... talk about a backhanded compliment-- "I will never eat you! ...But only because you are too disgusting to eat."

We should all be so lucky.

purell herpes - No. Just no. I'm sorry, but you'll need at least slightly stronger protection.

Or, you could not trust my judgment, and start taking a daily $200 bath in hand sanitizer and figure you're then rendered immortal.

eatng out can give you herpies - (Wayne, NJ) Just what the ladies want guys to start rallying around! That is, assuming this searcher's talking about female humans. Given some of the other herpies-/sex-related searches --robots, pigs, dogs, toilet seats-- I can't be totally sure. It's all merely a moot point***, though, because pretty much everything in New Jersey can give you herpes anyway.

Also, for the record, I think your spelling of herpies is tremendously more endearing than the boring old herpes. That way, the germs seem like puppies or kitties! The International Herpes Council, which is now commanded to exist if it didn't already, really needs to get on this change immediately.

* Based on their word choice, I'd say one's in love, and the other wants to play the field. Or dog park, I should say.

** Particularly you, Mr. Palmerton, Pennsylvania. Look to your town's founding fathers for guidance!

*** In using this word, I can't help but note that the word "moot" actually means "debatable", not "meaningless", which is how it is often used. So most of the time people invoke the label, they're not adding anything at all to what is already a debate over said point.

You wouldn't hit a man with glasses, would you?

13 November 2009

A conversation between M- and D-: Now thar's a handsome woman

Here's a little conversation I overheard the other day between my 5-year-old son D- and my 2-year-old daughter M-, while they were sitting on the floor getting dressed:

D- (innocently): You look handsome today, M-.

M- (lovingly but firmly correcting him): No. I'm pretty! Not handsome.

D- (seeing a chance to frustrate her): I'm pretty, you're handsome.

M- (getting riled up, but still just extremely insistent): Noooo!!! Handsome is for boys, pretty is for girls, so I'm pretty, and you are handsome.

D- (scrambling for a BS explanation, just like his old man would): No. ...

M- (shouting now): YES!! Handsome is for boys and you will be in trouble for saying a girl is handsome!

You may enjoy my previous D- conversations, (2YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

11 November 2009

They never specified "Veterans" of what

As the Calendar Gods grant all Americans (except my mom, as usual) a rare Wednesday off from work and school (or, for some of us, from not neglecting the care of children), I think it's important that we all take at least a few moments to remember who this Veterans Day is really about: Me.

How is this day about me, you ask? In what branch of the military did I serve? Well, that's a complicated question, in one sense. In another, more realistic sense, the fact that I never served is not complicated at all.

But let's look past that technically unanswered question to the most pertinent issue-- I work really hard, kind of, and I sacrifice a lot day in and day out, kind of. I've been the victim of so-called friendly fire as well as, more commonly, heavy enemy fire, in the form of fists, feet, land mines, food, toys, and bodily substances.

I don't think I need to remind you that many of these missiles have been aimed at my eyes and/or nuts.

So for obvious reasons, I could really use this day off, from... sitting around the house with the kids..... dammit.

Now that D-'s in kindergarten, this "day off" school actually means I'll be facing an even greater armed resistance, with reinforcements even better trained in the deadly and disgusting arts.

This makes me fear that while you sit at home yourselves today, you'll be wondering the whole time if I'll survive long enough to post on Friday. I assure you, though, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve, and treats in my belly* (thanks, Halloween!), so I'm sure I'll be fine no matter what they throw at me. Literally or figuratively.

So I suggest you change your usual plans for that time from focusing on me to an even more worthy cause-- remembering and thanking those men and women who have so proudly volunteered** to continue sheltering this American experiment that has led the world to a brighter future over the last 233 years.

They sign up for the ultimate sacrifice, and we should always make sure they never have to make it.

* The latter will help me outlast any forced starvation efforts before the kids themselves need their next meal prepared.

** I include in this, of course, those who were drafted into service or involuntarily reactivated.

NOTE: While you're remembering the sacrifices of our armed forces, also remember that today would be Madeline Spohr's second birthday. Please stop by her mom's blog to help celebrate Madeline's short but eventful life.

09 November 2009

Kids are nature's way of overwhelming your gag reflex

For those of you who don't have children, or those who just haven't found out quite yet, somehow, I have a very special bulletin for you.

Children are, as a species, probably the most disgusting beings on Earth, with the tie-breaking edge being handed to them over the dung beetle only because their cute, innocent looks and demeanors really blindside you with the scandalous truth.

I mean, you don't know how many times you'll have to ask them, whether an infant or a first-grader, to stop graphically tonguing the handle of a shopping cart, especially if it's got crevices (thanks Target).

A typical run-in with a child might involve you asking what the strange, unpleasant odor is, and receiving an answer to the effect of, "Ummm, my butt was itchy so I put my hand in it to scratch it, and yes, I then handled my sandwich (and/or yours) and chips, which I retrieved myself from the bag. ... Yes, I will remove the hand from my mouth."

And, let me tell you, this information will be delivered sheepishly only if your questions or tone suggest there's something wrong with the situation.

Before you think, "Oh, ha-ha, I get it-- this one event happened to Dan and now he's making a post generalizing the idea as a method of telling us about it," let me assure you, this particular sequence did NOT happen to me as described above, it's actually portions of multiple (and redundant) incidents combined for expediency's sake.

And the basic idea behind it is just the first one that sprung to mind! Yes, that's right, there are many, many more. But you don't need to hear all those. You should just take my word for it, there's a reason you don't get sick more often than you do now-- you were a child once, and you were disgusting.

06 November 2009

Corporate intelligence, Vol. 10: We're number -1, we're number -1!

I'm filing this one in the No Press is Bad Press folder:

While perusing the Web to find out if there was already a pitchfork-wielding mob I could join on the march to the Frankenstein's Castle of whoever makes those TVs at gas stations and grocery store lines, or if I'd just have to start my own, Google brought me to GSTV.com.

GSTV stands for Gas Station TeleVision, which, as far as I can tell, is a company that supplies content for the TVs in gas stations and, presumably, other totally inappropriate locations.

But the page to which I was pointed was not their splash page, designed to sell me on the idea of not cursing the waking nightmare this concept has wrought, but rather to a (authorized?) reprinting of a Wall Street Journal article in which the company is mentioned.

The article, despite the WSJ's "pro-business" bent, is distinctly hostile to the very idea of this company, starting with the title, I Don't Want My GSTV, and ending on this gem with which I couldn't agree more:

Before allowing me to complete my transaction, the pump TV asked me whether I was hungry and exhorted me to go inside to check out the snacks in the minimart. I wasn't, but it did make me wonder -- do they sell hammers in there? There's a TV I'd like to smash.

I'm thinking someone down at headquarters needs to call a meeting to pass a motion to consider implementing a new policy of manual review of the automatic feed to this section of the Web site.

04 November 2009

Pretend it's still Halloween with me!

In case you're breathing a sigh of relief that, after hours of painstakingly inspecting, and possibly dissecting, your children's Halloween candy, they were not near-victims of some dastardly neighborhood psychopath, I just thought I'd like to share with you the secret fact that No one has ever found an actual razor or pin or anything similar in a piece of Halloween candy from a stranger. Ever.

This is decades-old madness, so people need to relax and be sensible. Teach your kids what skeevy-looking candy is, and that they should set it aside for you to dispose of. If need be, offer a per-piece financial incentive like my mom used to for our Halloween gum haul.* And if you're smart, make sure to identify some of your favorites as the skeeviest of all.

But Dan, you say, you just finally eased our minds by saying the candy was safe! Why not tell the kids to down those skeevy pieces? We know how you hate waste in all its forms.

Well, I didn't say the candy was safe, per se, I just said no strangers are putting razor blades in their candy. For one thing, do you know how expensive that would get? Not to mention ridiculously laborious. And what would come of that anyway, a cut lip? Other than your "husky" son who's half boa constrictor, of course.

One body who's always itching to find the answer to a juicy what-if like this is your friendly neighborhood corporation, passing off production to whatever distant land offers the sweetest deal, then rewarding them by promptly squeezing them incessantly for increased profits until they're forced to stir in some surplus metal filings and actual razor blades to thicken up those goddamn lollipops that have to cost no more than 0.000008 cents each.**

One more thing that bugs me, since I'm already pre-wound for a tirade:

This paragraph (all errors and style choices are theirs...) is from my son's elementary school newsletter a couple weeks before Halloween, and it left my jaw hanging open. I'm not exaggerating-- as you might imagine, I often rant at inanimate objects in the privacy of my own home, but this one left me searching (still) fruitlessly for the right words to express all the feelings it stirs in me:

As your child begins to think about what he/she wants to be for Halloween please be mindful of appropriate costumes for school. [...] Students choosing to wear a costume for the Halloween party and parade should wear costumes that portray positive images. Scary, grotesque or negative costumes are not acceptable and will not be allowed. Please make certain your child's costume does not include:

• Toy weapons or look alike weapons
• Masks
• Gadgets that show blood, etc.

How it manages to stir that (non-scary) pot of those feelings (non-violently) without anything that could also be viewed as a weapon, I'm not sure...

Why don't we just give up and call it "October Dress-Up Day" with only slutty, cute, or funny costumes allowed, and then let's all give Halloween a proper burial, with the only pictures allowed to remember it by coming from before the past 15 years??! Sounds good to me.

And on that note, I hope you all had a great Halloween! Since Christmas stuff has already been in stores for a month or so now, I think the next holiday must be Valentine's Day. Better get your lollipops while Dollar General still has them in stock!

* Gum was forbidden, so this was like a "Cash for pistols, no questions asked" program.

** And those aren't
pills in your Smarties, those are prizes!

02 November 2009

That was my trick, now here's the treat

Well, as I'm sure you noticed, this past week was a bust for posting-- Blogger was all messed up.

Did I say Blogger? I meant The blogger.

So, to try to make it up to you, I'll post some hypnotic pictures of the kids today, and some thoughts I'd wanted to include in a pre-Halloween post Wednesday. We can all pretend I'm really organized and planned it this way from the beginning.

The best Peter Pan costume I could muster... thanks Home Ec!See the children, love the children, forgive their father.... and then give him all your candyyyyy...

...This scam's working so well, I'm gonna pull my patented Overreach Maneuver:
Tinkerbell redefining the Picture Smile
Weren't my posts last week the most hilarious ever?

They were so good I took them down, printed and bound them, and now I'm waiting for the Library of Congress to beg me to submit them.

That's why you don't see any posts dated during the past week.

And incidentally, these aren't the droids you're looking for.

They are, however, Peter Pan and, for the second straight year, Tinkerbell. I'll point to my creation of the Peter Pan costume from scratch as one reason for my rumored inability to post last week (which as we established is false), even though I bought the supplies Thursday afternoon and cut/sewed/etc. it all Thursday night so he could wear it to school on Friday.*

Because that's how stupid I am. Or awesome, depending on how you feel about legendary procrastination.

By the way, before you think I'm one of those parents who seeks to turn the world into my own little puppet show, no, I did not coordinate the kids' costumes. D- was a pirate two years ago and in remembering that, he made the jump to Peter Pan for this year, while M-'s imagination was just limited to the idea of being Tinkerbell because that's all she can remember (from last year) when she thinks of Halloween. And she's very stubborn, so she just put last year's costume on for one last run.

Next year I hope she easily accepts the fact that the costume will be too small, and she'll agree to be something else. Like the Incredible Hulk. One day, please God, one day, I want to see her in an Incredible Hulk costume, because I don't think I can imagine a more fitting one.

* Sunday through Wednesday, I was visualizing and planning the costume 24 hours a day. Yeah, that's the ticket...

23 October 2009

Maybe Amelia Earhart simply unraveled?

This article made me laugh so hard, and for so long, I have to make sure you read the whole opening, so I'm going to reprint the first two paragraphs:

Famed US aviator's hair actually 'piece of thread'

An aviation museum in the US state of Ohio that believed it was displaying a hair sample from famed flyer Amelia Earhart made an unfortunate discovery, after DNA analysis revealed it to be a piece of thread.

"In a disappointing turn of events," as Cleveland's International Women's Air and Space Museum described it in a statement, the lock of "hair" in their possession since 1986 was revealed as thread only after they put it on display this year.

There are just so many dimensions of funny here, it seems to be, at least for me, a bottomless well of mirth.

I would give up a finger --cannibal's choice, even-- to have been there at the DNA lab when they got that thing under an electron microscope, or whatever else they typically do with such samples. I wonder if they were required to continue running through the rest of the tests to make sure they were confident in their result.

I wonder how much that maid got paid for this find all those years ago, and how much the museum itself paid. The possibilities are intriguing, but I fear my potentially lucrative customers/rubes might be dangerously wary now.

Still, it kinda makes me want to send a bunch of random fibers I find in to labs around the country, each labeled --as condescendingly as I can manage-- as merely needing confirmation of some groundbreaking find.

I would of course also issue press releases for each one at the same time, to build suspense. You know those 24-hour networks would roll with it immediately, balloon boy hoax be damned.

I'm can't decide if the most disappointed analyst would be the one testing Beethoven's lead-laden follicle before realizing it's a broken rubber band, or the one excitedly inspecting my Bigfoot Hair? sample only to learn that it's actually a stale strand of angel hair pasta.

I think, at least linguistically speaking, that one would be a touch closer to the real thing than the aviation museums' treasure. I wonder if the museum world has jocks and bullies who'll be teasing these people for decades? I sure hope so.

21 October 2009

Developments at our house, Vol. 17

Here, at long last, is the latest list of recent developments around here:

1. I discovered that whenever I'm reading an e-mail from my Work folder, Gmail's link above the message urges me to Go Back to "Work" and I can't help but feel that it's deliberately shaming me. Less often than it should be.

2. I accidentally drifted off to sleep on the couch one morning while the kids were playing, and when I woke back up I had a snap bracelet on my harder-to-reach wrist, as well as various toys on and next to me, which indicates that I was either playing in my sleep or being played with in my sleep. Both are equally likely, but I'm not sure which is more troubling.

3. When my wife J- inquired about an unfamiliar brown spot on my wrist, I rubbed it to confirm it was one of my many random freckles, but she doubted that despite my insistence. After a little back-and-forth, I had to silence her by licking my fingertip and rubbing even harder, which revealed this particular freckle to have been made of chocolate.*

* Thanks a lot, Muddy Buddies, you delicious little turncoats.

19 October 2009

If you first smash it beyond recognition, there is ME in team

Though my daughter M- is still only 2, her communication abilities are far enough advanced that we're able to get an even better idea than genetics has given us of her future temperament and predispositions.

Chief among the latter is most certainly not, it seems, willing cooperation with her peers, any more than those peers will be likely to enjoy the credit they're due for their contributions to groups including Miss M-.

This is a girl who, some time after hearing me idly singing, "We're following the leader, the leader, the leader..." one day, began marching about the house very seriously chanting, "Be. The. LEA-der! / Be. The. LEA-der!"

I haven't yet had any of my patented Extra-Boring Heart-to-Heart Talks with her about this theme in her life, but just in the past couple of weeks, she's crafted gems like these, the only ones I happened to write down before I forgot:

M- (after putting on her own shoe): I did teamwork!!


Me (to a now-smiling D- and M-, after they had been loudly fighting over who would lay where at story time): So, did you guys find a way to cooperate?

M- (proudly singing it out over her brother's more subdued response): I did!!

Can't wait till 5-and-under softball! Though maybe football is more her speed... her teammates can either crush the selfishness out of her until she's just cautiously individualistic, or strategically piss her off each game before handing her the ball and getting out of the way.

Based on our experiences already, this plan shouldn't be too hard to execute, and it would be devastatingly effective.

How else can one harness convulsive rage and a steadfast maverick streak to unleash his or her full potential? Politics? Ultimate Fighting? Competitive eating? I'm not sure which is the least undignified, but then there's very little dignity in the contorted faces she wears while trying to inflict pain on those who displease her, in her smiling-monkey-faced footie pajamas.

She can transition easily from that into cramming the faces of her enemies, as carved into pie crusts, down her food chute at rates never before seen, thanks to that dash of OCD I contributed to her mother's genetic material.

Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket... she'll miraculously stay as lean and mean as her Japanese opponents, and with her Threats and Intimidation skills, she'll win such an assortment of global endorsement/protection deals that she'll be able to support her father in the luxurious lifestyle to which he only wishes he could become accustomed.

I can't quite reconcile what's best for her with what's best for me... either way, I'm prepared for quite a lot of notes to be sent home from kindergarten.

15 October 2009

I'm not only the president, I'm also a client!

If you need a window repaired around here, your best bet* is the local Ace Hardware store, according to as unimpeachable a source as Ace Hardware itself:
Front window of Ace Hardware store
No job is too big, no job is too small. Some jobs, however, are too obvious, and thus they must be declined without consideration:

Broken front window of Ace Hardware storeOr is that expertly applied duct tape meant to serve as a handy example of the kind of top-of-the-line repair job they're anxiously waiting to offer your own windows?

* Also, you should especially avoid the dedicated window place right across the street... in fact, let's all just pretend it's not there entirely!

13 October 2009

Amusing searches, Vol. 3

Here are some more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently.

In honor of Christopher Columbus, in whose name half my family got to spend an extra day at home yesterday, this list is a random, confused hodgepodge that stumbles upon others' familiar territory.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered.)

"parenting jokes" in good taste" - You came to the wrong place, my friend.

awkward hispanic moments - With only 6.8% of the Portland, Oregon population reporting Hispanic heritage, I'm guessing all the "Hispanic moments" in your hometown are awkward.

HOW TO KNOW I AM HERO - You may not like the answer, but here it is: if you have to Google it, you are not a hero. If you Google it in all caps, you just might be a supervillain. Not sure if that's any consolation.

someone put meth in my shampoo - Jenny the Bloggess, is that you??

ben affleck is a son of a bitch - Were they were looking for argument, validation, or evidence? I don't have anything in particular against Ben Affleck, but this searcher is pretty convincing...

judgmental hoe - Sure, I spout off a lot about a lot of people and things, but that's no cause for name calling. After all, I haven't publicly said anything negative about you. Yet.

Oh, and, P.S., since you're visiting from Athens, I know you're probably not a native speaker, but here in America, most of our gardening implements are pretty open-minded and fair. Except for the pruning shears... those bitches can be as bad as post-hole diggers.

09 October 2009

Nervous, self-conscious people will now become dramatically moreso

I just wanted to share with you all this development that's busy shaking me to my core. I'm now extra hopeful that they soon build a high-speed rail system in the U.S. on which I can rely in place of air travel. God help me when I need to get overseas...

Will airports screen for body signals? Researchers hope so

They're looking for fidgeting, rapid eye movements, and increased body temperature, perspiration, & heart rate???

This just in: I will be arrested on suspicion of terrorism the day they introduce this technology.

07 October 2009

A conversation between M- and D-: It's not plagiarism, it's an homage!

The following conversation from a recent morning exemplifies perfectly the relationship between my 5-year-old son D- and my 2-year-old daughter M-. (Or, at least, it pretty well covers all the time they're not bickering or screeching at each other.)

D- (very sweetly, though M- was perfectly happy): G'morning, honey, did you have bad dreams?

M-: No, I had good dweams.

D-: Oh, well, I had a bad dream. Some bad guy came to the house and tried to take me, and I was fighting him but he took me anyway and I called out for Mom but she couldn't save me.

M- (suddenly remembering, as if an unrelated story): Yeah! I had a dream where a bad guy tried to take me, and he took me out of the house and I called, "Mom!!"

You may enjoy my previous D- conversations, (2YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

05 October 2009

Things I've smelled worse than this

I must admit, when I read this recent news item about an unfortunately abandoned meat processing factory in South Dakota...

44 tons of rotting meat stink up S.D. town

[The] 44 tons of bison meat managed to hold its own for months, masked by the brutal chill of two South Dakota winters. Once the power was cut and spring thaw arrived, nature took over. And enough rotting meat to fill a high school gym did exactly what you'd expect: It stank.
The mayor said he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and could not recall smelling anything as bad.

...I was more than a little thrown by the little hints of horror my imagination was able to muster. But after just a few moments of reflection, I decided that while I don't envy the poor saps who had to clean up this place, it wouldn't be a totally new experience for me, for several reasons.

Here are just a few of the things I've been lucky enough to smell that were more nauseating than this place would be:

1. A swollen ball of a disposable diaper that was somehow accidentally disposed under the radiator for a couple days. This one had a few sequels, which says a lot about our tenacious laziness and sloppiness.

2. The parking garage staircase at the CTA Howard Station on a hot summer day. If they leave the door closed for more than 10 minutes, I'm pretty sure the handle starts melting, threatening to trap everyone inside. That's the only reason I can think that they usually have it propped open. Because they obviously don't much care about the smell.

3. The first burst of gas upon opening any one of the 15,000 sippy cups the kids have left somewhere to miraculously change chocolate milk to chocolate cheese in a mere matter of days.* Eat that, Jesus!

4. The emergency exit hallway at a movie theater where I worked years ago, due to years of overflowing garbage cans being left there all day during busy weekends. The rancid residue of years of the unique mixture that is Movie Theater Garbage is much more potent than you would imagine, possibly because it's not an obviously objectionable smell that you would brace yourself for before encountering.

So you get it with both barrels, assaulted on every flavor-wavelength at once and confused beyond measure at what could be doing this to your brain. Burnt popcorn soaked in fermented Coke syrup chased by a touch of vomit and many rotten stubs of hot dogs that weren't exactly fresh to start with... I never could wrap my head around what the star player would be in this sum so much greater than its parts.

I know I could go on, but it seems my brain has been doing its best to protect me from my own memories. While brainstorming throughly to come up with contenders for this list, I was repeatedly able to taste little morsels of olfactory pain without recalling its source or the time and place of my trauma. I saw numerous flashes of myself writhing in agony, wincing away from diapers and dumpsters, burying my face in my shirt and arming myself with thick gloves.

So, what I mean to say is, with a bit of therapy, I can definitely pump this list up to at least 11. Then maybe after that catharsis, I'll sleep through the night without The Nightmares. Oh, The Nightmares.

* Or, in a tiny handful of bizarre cases, a matter of weeks.

02 October 2009

No laughing matter

As you may have read elsewhere, today is Cure JM day here in blog-land, an effort to raise awareness of juvenile myositis, a potentially fatal and always devastating group of autoimmune diseases affecting children.

This event was pulled together by my fellow blogger and friend Kevin, aka Always Home and Uncool, whose 9-year-old daughter has been living with this disease since before she was diagnosed 7 years ago today, which is also his wife's birthday.

You can hear more about Kevin's ultimately uplifting story at his (normally hilarious) blog, Always Home and Uncool, and also at the group blog we write for, Hot Dads. In short, he and his wife have chosen to take their daughter's lifelong illness and turn it into a positive for other families suffering with it, families who might not be as lucky in obtaining the necessary medical care to make life as comfortable as possible for their children.

His wife got this news as a birthday present 7 years ago, and today, though she may be the chair of the Cure JM foundation, she's being ordered to take the day off while the rest of us take up the cause. Happy Birthday!

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to Kevin's FirstGiving page, or to the Cure JM donations page. And again, to read more, go to Cure JM or Always Home and Uncool.

30 September 2009

Things that amuse me

Here, as the title might suggest, are a few things that have been amusing me lately:

1. It says a lot about my current lifestyle that I only knew how long I slept in the computer chair recently by looking back at the pre-dawn browser history and measuring the gap between Repentant man breeds 4,600 scorpions and Driver Wears Monkey Mask in Speed-Camera Tickets. It was 37 minutes, by the way.

2. You know you're dealing with one of the greatest pools of obsessive nerd wisdom on Earth when you come upon the film category of Bully Comeuppance at the IMDb. (Also, Copped Feel.)

3. A house nearby to ours is on the National Register of Historic Places, and I recently saw the latest issue of This Old House magazine sticking out of their mailbox. This is a lot like seeing some old lady walking her poodle while clutching Dog Fancy magazine, or a grown man in bedazzled Crocs holding Pedophiles Monthly.

4. Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) should think twice about scaring people with closeups of unexpected Old Man Eyebrows in their e-mail boxes as a desperate campaigning tool. Secondly, I'm not sure what makes him think I can help him all the way out here in Povertyville, Illinois.

28 September 2009

Classic quotes, Vol. 19

Here is the latest batch of quotes from my 2-year-old daughter M- and my 5-year-old son D- (my wife J- and I haven't been interesting in weeks, apparently):

M- (as loudly as you'd expect, pointing to the balloon-infested cover of Elmo's Feliz Cumpleanos book): Look at his BALLLLLLLS!

M- (frightened as usual, referring to the roaring of hundreds of gallons of water pouring from the giant bucket over the kids' area at our pool): It's like lightning from the bucket, but water!*

D- (catching sight of junior-high soccer fields): Hey! The big soccer boys are out! And the big girl-boys, too!

M- (after being asked if she prefers J-'s Red Sox or my White Sox, giving a politically AND artistically astute answer): Ummm.... I like the Pink Sox!

M- (with exaggerated gestures, defying my idea that making "the girl toy" in a Happy Meal a little notebook is lame): It's NOT a toy... it's a NOTEbook, and it's imPORtant, and nobody else can touch it, but me... not ANYone in the WORLD... imAGine that, in your BRAIN.**

* This astute comparison of the sound to thunder makes me as proud as when D- said something was, "as dry as SAND!" a few years ago. They'll be writing bad poetry in no time, just like their ol' man.

** I swear to God/Allah/Yahweh/Michael Jordan that she said this to me-- I was at the computer at the time, and I typed it out before she even finished saying it.

25 September 2009

Huggy Bear's House of Coffee

Looking for a sordid tale of titillation at a Washington coffeehouse? Head on over to HotDads, to see my latest post with this great group bloggers of which I'm lucky to be a part.

If it doesn't make you want coffee with an unhealthy urgency, then I guarantee twice your money back.

23 September 2009

Important Question: Or is that kind of sleep orgasmic enough?

These are the things about which one begins to wonder when forced to read or watch a story more than 10 times:

If the nice fairies in Sleeping Beauty had the power to alter the evil fairy's killing spell, why didn't they just say that when she turned 16, she'd touch a spindle, receive a deliciously near-fatal orgasm, and then develop a lifelong obsession with spinning wheels?

Why make her, the royal family, and everyone who works in their castle, fall asleep indefinitely while waiting for a chance encounter to bring them back to daily life? How is that the easiest solution, even if we decide they were limited by adapting the language without the intent of the spell?

Can you imagine missing out on a decade without realizing it? Strutting around with bell bottoms and pork-chop sideburns when everyone else is gelled up with Hammer pants... the horrors go on.

Which decade would you pick to skip, and why?

After you're done pondering this, you might want to weigh in on some other of Life's Most Important Questions, especially the original.

21 September 2009

Parenthood is...

...watching an iguana defecate on the neighbor's kitchen floor and being less bothered by the sight and smell than by the knowledge that the kids will be talking about it nearly constantly for at least the next year and a half.

18 September 2009

Next we could hit The Place, then The Restaurant

I just had to say something when I read this:

RadioShack To Become ’The Shack’

Whatever happened to an established name being irreplaceable in the marketplace? Do they skip that section in business school nowadays?

I mean, England still has a store (a huge chain of them, actually) called Carphone Warehouse, for God's sake. They know what they're doing, silly as they may sound now, at least 15 years since anyone expressed an interest in buying "a car phone."

But then nothing says, "Come on in and browse around," quite like a place referred to as The Shack... Traditionally speaking, if your shack needs no modifiers to make people understand which shack is being referred to, it is most definitely a shack no sane person wants to get near.

You know who else felt comfortable hanging out in a shack filled with shelves of electronic odds and ends? The Unabomber.

This falls right in line with another development I'd read about, which I'll share with you in case you hadn't heard:

Pizza Hut Soon to be The Hut?

Now, they claim that they're only using this name on some new buildings, but it's clear to me they're just trying to soften up the market before the big switch at some point. Also, of course, they want attention. Mission accomplished, idiots!

The So-Called SyFy Channel: Honorable mention goes to whoever's in charge of the SciFi Channel. That person who decided that their channel, and indeed their job and very existence, wasn't stupid enough, so they should change the spelling of the channel to the uselessly cutesy "SyFy Channel".

All this just so you can own an otherwise generic word? All of your networks' shows are now subconsciously graded down one star in my mind before I even seen them. Just you wait a couple of decades for that to really mean something. I know I will!

16 September 2009

Marriage is...

...When the cryptically referenced "services rendered" birthday present from your significant other is his putting away the gigantic f***ing pile of laundry you've let pile up, again, over the past few weeks.

Happy birthday, J-!

14 September 2009

Storybook Weddings: Elmo, assault, rampaging horses, and idiocy

I came upon an older article recently about 13 wedding horror stories, including a massive brawl at a lesbian wedding, and a groom arrested for violating his new wife's restraining order, and I figured I'd share my amused observations on a few of them:

Bride Drunkenly Assaults People - I'm pretty sure the lady in this amusing mug shot is the yin to the yang of this bride I posted about awhile back.

Bride Thrown From a Runaway Horse-Drawn Carriage - You may question his methods, but you can't argue with the results when God decides to point out that you're being kind of a douche.

Bride's Dress is Ripped by Dry-Cleaners After her Wedding - Really? This is on par with being arrested, poisoned, or nearly killed by a truck?? I'm thinking they ran out of good ones but still wanted to have 13, for the gimmick.

Husband and Wife Brawl With Police When Renewing Vows - When your name is "Elmo Jesus", there's bound to be a few assault charges anytime lots of people are gathered.

Woman Swallows Engagement Ring - This one was fated to end disastrously from the moment it was conceived. If this lady is anything like my wife, he should have already known that you do not put anything you value between her and a Frosty.*

Man Scales Side of Brooklyn Bridge to Retrieve Ring - This one answers the age-old question, "What does an idiot do when he drops something?"

* I know that sounds bad, and she'll probably groan and hit me, but it's true, and I would never lie to you people, or even withhold unflattering information. Honestly, I don't blame her, though-- those things are good! Have you ever dipped a fry in one?

Editor's Note: With that winning note, speaking of brides, I'd like to announce that today is my wife J-'s birthday, which has always been one of the biggest highlights of her year. Since it's not yet been made a national holiday (though it was, much to her chagrin, named a national day of mourning 8 years ago), the day is tarnished by her having to go to work.

Wanna help me brighten her day with some well wishes?

12 September 2009

PSA: Child Passenger Safety week

Sorry, this post is not sarcastic, for once. It's an actual Public Service Announcement.

I wanted to let everyone know it's National Seat Check Saturday today in America, and over the coming week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is trying to raise awareness of the subpar safety level of children in our cars.

I normally don't do this kind of thing, but since I've already spent roughly 10% of my predicted lifespan installing, uninstalling, and reinstalling carseats, I consider myself a bit of an aficionado, and the subject is near and dear to my heart.

I've seen some pretty ridiculous "installations" in other people's cars in the past, and it always makes me itch to offer help or suggestions for the sake of the kids. It can't hurt to have someone check to make sure you're installing your carseats correctly, right?

Here's a page where you can find the carseat inspection stations in your area: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/CPS/CPSfitting/index.cfm

And here's a little video they made for this event:

11 September 2009

Confirmation of Blogger-Authors' greatness

As I promised a month ago, I'm here to offer my thoughts on (Dad Gone Mad) Danny Evans' first book, Rage Against the Meshugenah, and (Baby on Bored) Stefanie Wilder-Taylor's latest book, It’s Not Me, It’s You, after reading them both in the past few weeks.

RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH: Why it Takes Balls to Go Nuts

Book cover - Rage Against the MeshugenahI wholeheartedly agree with every other reader I've heard from that this book is a must-read for anyone who knows someone (especially a man, or a generally reserved woman) who might be depressed.

This includes, of course, pretty much everyone, and I can't decide who would get more out of it-- people who know they know someone who's depressed, or people who haven't yet put all the signs together.

The tone of the book is not all dark and depressing, which would kind of defeat the purpose, nor is it all wisecracking superficiality. It's the same blend of both aspects (and others) that you get in the most rewarding, memorable conversations you have with good friends.

I know I'm not saying anything everyone who's listening hasn't already heard before, but I felt compelled (as someone who has faced a lot of the same struggles as Danny) to build on my preview post to confirm that yes, you really, really should read this book, one way or another.

IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU: Subjective Recollections from a Terminally Optimistic, Chronically Sarcastic and Occasionally Inebriated Woman

Book cover - It's Not Me, It's YouAs much as I enjoyed Stefanie's first two books, Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay and Naptime Is the New Happy Hour, I appreciated those on a much more superficial level, as a parent laughing at how ridiculous children and their parents can be sometimes.

Stefanie's new book is different, in that it's a straightforward, self-assured comic memoir, which is a genre (led by David Sedaris) that I particularly enjoy.

To keep you invested in her biography without getting caught up in a weepy tell-all, Stefanie sprinkles in just the right amount of references to the deeper drama and conflicts in her life that led to the amusing and occasionally bizarre stories that are the star of this book.

The result is a fast-reading collection of essays that can be taken all together in order, or separately and at random, without missing information that would keep you from appreciating her humor or storytelling abilities. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes humorous memoirs or personal essays.

In unrelated news (about which I'm sure you'll see, hear, and read a great many more stirring tributes and remembrances than I can muster), today is of course the 8th anniversary of the hijackings of 9/11/01, for which I'm almost totally sure you can hold these two folks entirely blameless. How's that for an endorsement??

09 September 2009

Amusing searches, Vol. 2

Here are more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently, this time a batch of private-part related questions and statements.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered.)

attack of the one eyed monster - Please allow me to disillusion you... I think "attack" is really an unfair world. He's usually very friendly, though perhaps occasionally a bit overeager.

I went pee in toilet and someone else's urine touched my vagina - From, wait for it... Regina*, Saskatchewan.

can you get an STD from someone else's urine splashing onto your vagina - This was the very next day after the last one, from the same person, and seeing that made me wish I could somehow scream across the Internet, "No, you fool!"

vaginal wash chimpanzee what is a experiment - I have no idea what would prompt this search, nor what I'd have to offer on this front, but suddenly I have an urge to check up on whoever is in charge of washing our nation's strategic supply of chimpanzee vaginas.

orangutan ass picture - Only the finest quality product do I offer to you, dear readers. And now we've added yet another satisfied customer from Wroclaw, Poland.**

"he's too pretty for his own good" - I'm impressed that my reputation has stretched as far as Kiel, Germany, but I'm not entirely surprised.

Sure, you might say, this one doesn't really involve private parts, per se, but I've included it here because whenever you think about how pretty I am, honestly, don't yours just get a nice, warm tingle?

i keep catching my 4 year old son plays with his penis - This is one of those searches that clearly telegraphs the gender of the searcher.

And my question for her is as follows: Is your problem that you keep catching him doing it? 'Cause if you're looking for him to stop entirely, you've got a long line to get behind, and that line starts with the females of something even simpler than a squirrel monkey.

* Pronounced, of course, "Reh-JI-na".

** I get searches for orangutan pictures every single day, and sometimes as many as 5 in one day, just because of that one post months ago. Who knew??

07 September 2009

Not to belabor a theme, but...

I was informed by my son's school calendar that apparently today is something called "Labor Day".

Not having been a part of the traditional work force for almost two years now, I'm not quite clear what this means beyond my having to entertain a five-year-old for one extra day this week.

Calling on all my powers of deduction and forensic etymology training, I can only assume that this day must have something to do with honoring the struggle and sacrifice of our nation's childbearers.

Care to share any entertaining stories about your (or your significant other's) own labor experience?*

* Before you answer, keep in mind that my wife J-, rightfully portrayed here most times as an overworked saint and generally sympathetic figure, had such fast labors that she has since declared a handful of other things as more painful than childbirth. Begin hating her... now!

04 September 2009

A conversation with J-: She could make that happen pretty easily

My wife and I have recently been looking wishfully at houses that are pretty far from Chicago, out where prices are lower and space is more plentiful. Being as disorganized as we are, we know that whenever this happens, it will mean a huge disruption in one or more areas of our lives.

For instance, if we bought one of the houses in a particular town we've been scouting before that $8,000 tax credit offer expires on December 1, J- would be looking at either a 3-hour daily commute each way, or some kind of other temporary living arrangement for 6 months, until the end of the school year.

After considering for awhile yesterday (on the phone during J-'s already long commute) all the many paths our lives might take in the coming months, I accidentally signaled the end of our discussion, as I often do, by clashing in tone with my much more earnestly speculating wife:

J-: I mean, it'd be really hard on both of us. You'd be alone with the kids all week, day and night... you'd basically be a single parent.

Me: Does that mean I could date?

J-: ... No.

Fellas, I highly suggest you try this one at home yourself next time you're tired of being taken so seriously as an adult having a serious conversation at the end of a long workday. It's totally worth it!

02 September 2009

Tropical Storm "Douche"

As Mexico braced itself for the impact of Hurricane Jimena, American assholes everywhere remained steadfastly unconcerned:

Category 4 hurricane threatens Mexico's west coast

But with the weather still mild Sunday, Jim Patterson, a tourist from Big Bear Lake, California, could not muster up much concern.

"Are you saying it would be a good idea to stock up on tequila?" he joked at a seaside restaurant. "No fear. I've been through tornados* and earthquakes and everything else, but never a hurricane."

This is Mexico we're talking about-- why hasn't somebody kidnapped this guy yet? Or does he walk the streets unthreatened because even 2-peso hoods can tell no one would ever pay a ransom for this jerkoff?

If I send THREE pesos down thataways, do you think somebody would kidnap him just to tie him to a post down at the docks for the duration of the storm, with a SMITE ME sign posted over his head?

* Supposed to be spelled tornadoes, of course. But the Associated Press has an image to maintain, after all. Just think of the disaster if they set our expectations for basic copy editing too high!

31 August 2009

Important Question: Crackers unite?

I couldn't help but notice this set of promotional posters at a nearby festival this weekend:

Cracker Carnival- for crackers or by crackers?
The question is, are these merely two coincidentally-placed posters noting 1) a carnival and 2) an appearance by the band Cracker, or are the organizers just boldly declaring the primary demographic focus of the festival?

28 August 2009

Guest Post: Tough love to start the year

No, my wife J-'s not getting drunk on attention after her debut guest post last week, but while I recover from this crazy topsy-turvy week, I figured I'd post something she wrote for her own first day of school this year*, her third as a middle school Special Education teacher:

Dear Self,

You've been having a great summer. You have accomplished some of the things you wanted to, but overall, you have been lazy, forgetful, and self-indulgent. You have been eating on no particular schedule, you have been recklessly using the bathroom whenever you want to, you have been napping at all times of the day, and worst of all, you have been going to bed at crazy hours, well past your 9 o'clock bedtime.

You're in for a rude awakening in a day or two, and you're going to get your ass kicked by the clock. Please, straighten out your act or I will be forced to do something drastic about this situation. These measures will include things like dragging your butt out of bed to work out before leaving for work at 6am, or depriving you of your soul-saving caffeine. So shape up or prepare to be shipped out.

Also, you have been doing things in preparation to organize your stupid behind, and I swear this time you must follow through with it! This year you must stop staring off into space while mold slowly over takes your desk. You need to remember that if you leave your lunch out all day, it will no longer be something you should eat. You should, however, remember to bring it home before too long after that happens.

Also, please stop losing important paperwork and putting it off until the last minute: this is your year to shine.

Don't embarrass yourself in front of your new Para[professional]: she's old enough to be your mother, instead of your little sister like the last two years. You can do better. I'm expecting to be impressed!

Love you,

P.S. Okay, okay, I won't really take away your caffeine, but I will use it to torment you if you aren't careful, Missy!

* Editor's Note: Her first day was actually this past Wednesday, but clearly this was written on Monday.

26 August 2009

Post-graduate education for preschoolers

Today, instead of writing some wandering rant or sarcastic childish commentary, or just transcribing my kids' strange conversations, I need to sort through a little something here.

Please indulge me while I wrap my head around the fact that I just packed some kid's lunch. For school. Where he'll be all day today, like a real person.

He'll even get there on a bus, by himself, and though he may look as ridiculous with his color-coded nametag, backpack sticker, and strange visor as I did with the grotesque cowboy totebag my mom made my brothers and I carry (but not my sister, years later...), he will have reached the point at which the bounty of day-to-day memories in my own life began, 23 years ago.*

I'm starting to think that, despite all the evidence my spotty memory and helpful cloud of denial can provide, my girlfriend and I just might be parents. Of actual children. And I'm pretty sure I'm getting some flashes that there was a wedding in there somewhere, too.**

This means we may not in fact be college dorm roommates who got matched up with a couple of unbelievably needy, dependent midgets by the university housing authority. Someone will soon be coming into our apartment, holding us accountable for our shamefully disorganized, impromptu lifestyle, emboldened by third-party education outside the cult walls.

As well he should. It's about time someone did.

Good luck, kid.

* What this means for me, I'm not sure, but it doesn't really matter. I just don't want to screw this up for him.

** Coming up on six years ago, I'm told.

24 August 2009

Even a golden raisin shower is gross

The other day, while I was adjusting my 5-year-old son D-'s booster carseat, I heard an odd rattling sound. Assuming it must be filled with crayons and an assortment of small rocks that had once been in the cupholders, I began trying, not unlike a chimpanzee, to find an access point to the inside of this thing.

Only once I started shaking it upside down with the cupholders partway out did a flurry of rock-hard golden raisins of mysterious origin begin raining down across the seat and floor of the car.

I stopped shaking to gather up this first batch and hand them to D- before beginning another round. His response to all this trouble he'd caused? An excited, "Can I eat them?"

When will this stop?

21 August 2009

Things 2-year-olds like doing

M- and this scarecrow are now going steady...Sneaking off to leave a secret (and aptly named) number 2 in a potty chair*, despite months of using the adult toilet, so everyone else can be baffled for hours by the mystery stench that just won't flush away.

Now that I think about it, this is a pretty good prank, and I know I have a built-in scapegoat...

* In our defense, it's been used mostly as a stepstool for awhile now.

19 August 2009

Guest Post: J-'s School Supply Fever

Well, here's a treat for those who've asked for a guest post from my wife J-. She was so overjoyed at her haul at school supply sales recently, both for her and my 5-year-old son D-, that she felt like expressing herself in print:

This is my time of year. God do I love the fall and the rush of going back to school.

Mostly, I love school supplies, and I don’t mean that in a healthy, “Golly gee willikers, these are neat!” kind of way. I mean it more in the way some women describe shopping at huge designer clothes and shoes sales, where people will claw your eyes out for little or no reason. This was bred into me a long time ago, so I simply can’t help it.

If there's only one left of the item I am looking for, you had better believe I will do whatever it takes to make sure it becomes mine. A few days ago, I was out shopping and some lady was reaching for the last box of sheet protectors just as I was, while she complained about how expensive they were.

I was forced to take evasive action, asking her if she'd gotten the same 20%-off bag in the mail that I was holding. She stopped reaching to rub her chin as she considered the question, and while she did, I deftly put that last box in my cart.

I know, I know, I should be ashamed, but sadly I am not. She was unhappy with the price, so I relieved her of the problem! But you don't have to thank me: my new sheet protectors are their own reward.

A big part of the reason I have this great love of school supplies is my almost total lack of awesome school supplies as a kid. Back then, school supplies often doubled as birthday presents, and because we were so poor, even then I never had any of the cool things I was ogling in the ads.

Nope, I always had the “functional” supplies that generally kind of worked, but were certainly never the envy of anyone else in class. They usually lasted just long enough for the teachers to note that my mother had indeed sent in my supplies as ordered.

For instance, I think all my non-Ticonderoga pencils were created solely as an offering to the pencil sharpener gods, to provide a year's worth of blessings for my classmates' pencils. The only exception in those years of school supplies, possibly even coveted by others than myself, were my pens.

My mother felt this splurge was necessary mostly because she loved pens as much as I did. I never went for the girly, decorated, crazy pens, but more for the ones with the best grips, most practical sizes, most vibrant colors, the endurance of the ink, and how nicely that ink flowed. I have since grown into an addiction that is not limited to the beginning of school, which I have a constant excuse to feed now that I'm a teacher.

Ask my husband: if there is a good pen in a store, I know everything about it and why I need one. I can’t help it. Each pen writes differently, and with each new day, my hand requires different pens for the various moods I find myself in that day. This year's pen new set is an 8-pack of assorted colors of the simple Papermate Profile ballpoint pen:

The Papermate Profile ballpoint penSo, with that, along with the rest of what you see below (some of which I got free from a store giving a tote bag of goodies to teachers), my inhuman demand for school supplies has been satisfied for this year. I think.

This school year's haul at the LiteralDan household
A. Pink is always better than Not Pink.

B. The aforementioned sheet protectors.

C. Between D- and I, Costco saved me almost $20 on pencils.

D. Pay no attention to the crap in my house I'm not able to Photoshop out.

E. These good-smelling dry erase markers are hard to find, but now I don't have to worry about my new whiteboards killing me with marker fumes in my dank basement of a classroom.

F. I probably don't even need these, but I just love them so much. They're great markers, and they double as air fresheners.

G. I've waited two years for these things, so I don't have to pile up folders in my filing cabinet drawers.